Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Source: Stallworth meets with commish
By Kelly Naqi
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth, currently under indefinite suspension by the NFL, met Wednesday afternoon with commissioner Roger Goodell in Manhattan, according to a source with knowledge of the meeting.
A source says Stallworth and Goodell were to discuss Stallworth's request for reinstatement. Miami TV station WPLG first reported the story.
Stallworth, 28, pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter charges in June after fatally striking Mario Reyes, a 59-year-old construction crane operator, on March 14 in Miami. Stallworth had been drinking at a Miami Beach club just hours before he killed Reyes, who was rushing to catch a bus after finishing work shortly after 7 a.m. Reyes was not in a crosswalk when he was hit.
Stallworth had a blood-alcohol level of .126, above Florida's .08 legal limit. In a recorded interview, Stallworth told police he drank up to four shots of premium tequila while partying with friends at a Miami Beach club, but did not feel drunk in the hours before he struck Reyes. Tests taken at the scene also determined that Stallworth had marijuana in his system.
Stallworth served 24 days in a Miami-Dade jail as part of his plea agreement, which includes two years of "community control" (Florida's version of house arrest), eight years of probation, drug and alcohol testing, 1,000 hours of community service and a lifetime suspension of his driver's license. Stallworth also reached a multimillion-dollar financial settlement with Reyes' family.
Speaking to reporters at Browns training camp on Wednesday, coach Eric Mangini called the Stallworth-Goodell meeting "a league matter, so I can't elaborate anymore."
"Once the league makes the decision they're going to make, then we'll address it then," Mangini said.
On June 18, Goodell suspended Stallworth indefinitely without pay, stating in a letter to Stallworth that his actions had violated the personal conduct and substance-abuse policies and "caused irreparable harm to the victim and his family, your club, your fellow players and the NFL."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello would not confirm the meeting or give any timetable on a possible decision by Goodell.
"We do not comment on the details of the review process," Aiello said in an e-mail response. "So we decline to comment on the report of a meeting today. When a decision is made, we will announce it."
Stallworth previously was a participant in the league's substance-abuse program, according to a March 2007 report in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
When asked about the report the following week, after signing with the New England Patriots, Stallworth told The Associated Press: "All that stuff is in the past. There was a situation a couple years ago."
Stallworth signed a seven-year, $35 million contract with the Browns before last season but was injured much of the year. He finished the '08 season with 17 receptions for 170 yards and one touchdown in 11 games. The seven-year veteran also played for the Saints and Eagles.
Kelly Naqi is a reporter for ESPN. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.